SEATTLE, Nov. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Apprenti™, the nation's first registered tech apprenticeship program, announced today that it will expand nationally into Oregon, Michigan, California and Ohio. The apprenticeship program – which was started by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) in 2016 – recruits, trains and places diverse talent into tech roles.
According to a forecast by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a surge of over 1.3 million new computer programming and computer support specialist jobs by 2022. Additionally, companies are struggling to increase diversity within their workforce. Less than 20 percent of the tech workforce is female, less than 5 percent is Hispanic or African American, and there are even fewer veterans. Apprenti fills a critical role by closing the tech talent gap and providing opportunities for underrepresented groups to secure careers in tech.
"We're seeing two big problems emerging in the tech industry: Companies are having a difficult time finding the right talent to fill jobs, and diversity is sorely lacking. Apprenti changes both in a big way," said Jennifer Carlson, executive director of Apprenti. "By expanding our presence into four new states, not only are we training and placing more diverse talent into local tech jobs, but also creating a national model for registered apprenticeship. Today's announcement is just the beginning as we expand our program to more states in the coming year."
The expansion – the result of a $7.5 million ApprenticeshipUSA contract – follows Apprenti's successful Washington state pilot program, which received more than 3,000 applicants and placed nearly 100 apprentices into tech positions since its launch one year ago. Apprentices currently work in jobs at Amazon, Microsoft, Avvo, Comtech, F5 Networks and Silicon Mechanics, earning at least $42,000. The jobs include web developer, software developer, network security administrator, Windows system administrator, Linux system administrator, cloud support specialist, data center technician and IT support professional.
"Information technology skills building is increasingly important to employers in many in-demand industries in Michigan," said Michele Economou Ureste, executive director at the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN), Apprenti's local expansion partner in Michigan. "The Apprenti program is a proven and reliable pathway for underrepresented groups to gain training, certifications and job placement. This aligns with WIN's ongoing efforts to help employers with workforce development solutions to close the skills gap."
The Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) recognizes the need for tech talent and is implementing Apprenti in two different regions. Partnering with Lane Workforce Partnership in the greater Eugene area, Apprenti will be welcomed to the growing industry, which currently has 453 tech companies. In central Oregon, the market is also in high demand.
"With central Oregon experiencing one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country, we need innovative ways to recruit, train and place top talent into tech roles. Apprenti's proven model offers an innovative solution to help us meet this demand," said Heather Ficht, executive director of East Cascades Workforce Investment Board (ECWIB), Apprenti's partner in central Oregon. "We look forward to working with Apprenti to help our local tech companies find and develop the talent they need to thrive."
Once accepted into the Apprenti program, apprentices receive between 14-20 weeks of certified technical training followed by one year of full-time, paid, on-the-job training with one of the hiring partners. As a hybrid competency and time-based program, those with a strong determination to complete the rigorous training are encouraged to apply. To be considered for the program, applicants must be 18 or over, have a high school diploma or equivalent and be eligible to work in the U.S.
"We've seen first-hand how Apprenti provides a pathway to well-paying jobs in the technology industry and are eager to help support the program as it launches into new states," said Sarah Steinberg, vice president of Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase, one of Apprenti's funding partners. "In this economy, technology skills are imperative to every company, and our hope is to improve access to living-wage job opportunities for workers who are currently under-represented in technology roles."
Apprenti is a registered apprenticeship program powered by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA). Apprenti trains future tech workers with an emphasis on underrepresented groups including women, minorities and veterans. Apprenti is an industry recognized, state and federally accredited program. Apprentices receive two to five months of full-time, industry recognized training before beginning one-year of paid on-the-job training with one of the program's hiring partners. The program is partially funded through a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) ApprenticeshipUSA contract and a grant from the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI), with support from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), and JP Morgan Chase. For more information on how to apply, donate or become a hiring partner, please visit www.ApprentiCareers.org.